I was just reading the article about Brad Bergesen and his dad on Orioles.com.
Okay, I am officially jealous. What a wonderful story. Good for both of them. I had hardly made it halfway through the article before my eyes welled up and I had to go for the tissues.
I have wondered for a while now, what would it have been like to spend that kind of time with my dad? On this Father's Day weekend, I find myself thinking about my time with my dad. He loved baseball, yet I never remember having a conversation about it with him.
There are three particular days that I remember spending with him that had to do with baseball. For my 12th birthday, he took me to a 1971 World Series game when the Orioles played the Pirates at Memorial Stadium. We sat in the upper deck and I just remember how big the field looked.
Dad was a tractor trailer driver and was on the road a lot. He was either working or sleeping, and 1980 was the first time I remember him being at one of my games. I was 20. I had gone to a couple of Orioles tryout camps that summer and was invited to pitch in the first Oriolelanders game.
The game was rained out the first night, and I didn't think dad would be able to make it the next night. But we played the next night and he was there. I was named most valuable pitcher and was glad dad was there to see it. Unfortunately, the Orioles didn't offer me a contract, and I went to Community College of Baltimore City and signed with the Pirates two years later.
I don't remember dad ever seeing me pitch for the Orioles. In 1993 I came to Camden Yards as a member of the Detroit Tigers. Dad was working at the ballpark downstairs near the clubhouses. He had just recently retired and was really starting to enjoy his retirement by being at the ballpark every day. We had a picture taken on the field with me in my Tigers uniform and him in his Orioles garb. I never saw him so happy before, or maybe proud was the word I should have used. I didn't get to pitch at Camden Yards that year and walked away from the game a few weeks later.
My dad got to see my son Steve play quite a bit though. In August of 1996 we went to a CABA U9 tournament in Charles City, IA. While we were in Iowa, we went to Dyersville and the location where the movie "Field of Dreams" was filmed. Fortunately, I had met the owners of the house on an Orioles cruise the winter before, so, we got to go onto the porch and take pictures sitting on the porch swing. Pretty cool stuff! Unfortunately, my dad had a major stroke and passed just a few weeks after that trip.
When I read the article about Brad and his dad, it brought back memories of my time with my dad. Though I never played a game of catch with my dad, I can look back and remember how proud he was that one of his sons followed in his footsteps. Remember folks, my first profession was as a tractor trailer driver. Just like dad. When I gave that up to pursue my dream of playing in the big leagues, dad may have thought I had stripped a few gears.
Yes, I did go to games at Memorial Stadium as a junior Oriole for years. I went to the games and sat in the bleachers with dad and my brothers and sister. But, it wasn't the same as the times above. Cherish the time you have with your dad and have a great Father's day.
Good luck Brad and thanks for the memories!